The prime minister warned that COVID-19 UK, which is 70% more spreadable than the original virus – could make it more deadly.
Boris Johnson indicated that there was new evidence to support the claim that the new version may cause a higher level of death.
Northern Ireland’s Health Department confirmed that the variant likely existed for a short time after a limited number of suspect cases had been examined.
He explained that it is “much, much more easy to transmit from one individual to another.”
Public Health England (PHE), Susan Hopkins stated previously that the strain is mostly found in London, southeast England.
All regions of England as well Wales and Scotland have now cases. But, it is “very small” by comparison.
Dr Hopkins indicated that VUI-202012/01, the variant was named, has a “very distinct genetic make-up” which is easy to follow.
You can find it by sequencing the whole genome, which usually takes 2 to 3 weeks.
Some other nations also are affected. Dr Hopkins indicated that there have been similar strains detected in Australia and Denmark. He also said that other variants of the virus have been identified in South Africa, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere.
When was it created in the UK
Dr Hopkins indicated that it was found initially in a September patient. The full genome sequence was later returned to him in October.
She stated that initially, “nothing could be said to specifically highlight this concern as there are many variants.”
Scientists were still trying to determine why COVID-19 diseases in Kent or Medway could not be reduced under national restrictions by the end of November
Dr Hopkins reported that “detail clinical and behavioral epidemiological investigations” were done, as well as whole genome sequencing. It was also discovered that the cluster of the newly identified variant was spreading to these regions.
The government was notified Friday 11 December. It was further investigated to find out what was happening.
Dr Hopkins later stated that this new strain is “much easier to transmit than existing varieties”.
She said, “That caused us to be extremely worried and we notified the government last Friday (18 December)”.
The first time all the evidence was gathered in one place.
How can we tell it’s up to 70% less transmissible?
Dr Hopkins indicated that PHE had been working with Imperial College London modelling experts in an effort to determine if the new model is comparable with other versions.
She claimed that 70% seemed like a solid figure, however we have not been able to establish confidence intervals.
Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) has suggested that the new strain might increase R by 0.4 The UK’s current R is between 0.8 to 1.
Recent data suggests that this strain has been responsible for 43% new infections within the South East. It is also responsible for 59% and 62% of new cases respectively in London, East England and the East.
England’s chief physician, Professor Chris Whitty, stated that he has alerted World Health Organisation regarding its existence. The organisation will now concentrate on the analysis of data related the the outbreak.
Is it more deadly?
As mentioned previously, the prime Minister warned that there was evidence that suggests that the new strain is far more lethal than the original.
Sir Patrick Vallance is the chief scientific advisor and said that while there are no signs of an increased death rate for UK residents, there was a greater risk than with the original virus.
He claimed that the former variant was more likely to cause death in a male over 60 than the one with the latest variant.
New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group NERVTAG (NERVTAG), published a paper confirming that there was a “real possibility” that this new variant poses a higher risk of death than non-VOC infections.
Dr Hopkins commented on the paper’s findings: “There may be a risk that the variant of worry first discovered in the UK will lead to higher deaths than the other non-variant.”
This variant has yet to be proven and further research is needed in order to determine its behavior.
Can the new strain be treated with the vaccine?
Dr Hopkins stated the vaccine should produce a wide immune response. He also said that mutations shouldn’t mean the jab is ineffective.
She explained that the “definitive” answers to questions will only come out of studies that take at least two more weeks.
She stated that the virus is currently being developed in Imperial, Porton Down, Colindale. “Imperial will soon be able see how the virus kills people who’ve been infected before as well as people who have been vaccinated.”
Sir Patrick Vallance claimed that multiple sources were showing increasing support for the effectiveness of the vaccines against the UK’s coronavirus strain.
Scientists have found no variants of the virus that might make it less efficient, nor has time allowed for mutation.
Federico Giorgi from the University of Bologna, who was part of a research team that examined COVID-19 strains, said Science Daily, “The SARS/CoV-2 coronavirus has presumably been optimised for humans, explaining its low evolutionary change.
“This indicates that all of the viruses might be affected by the treatment we have developed, which includes a vaccine.”
What’s the difference in strains?
This is not the second time that the virus has mutated in response to pandemic.
At least seven different major COVID-19 strains have been discovered so far.
The L strain is the name of the original strain that was found in Wuhan (China) in December 2012.
At the beginning 2020, it mutated to become the S strain. After that, the V and then the G strains were followed.
It has most often been found in Europe or North America. Because these countries were slow to limit movement, the virus was able to spread quicker and evolve into new strains, such as GH, GR and GV.
The original L strain survived longer in Asia, however, as several countries, including China had to quickly close their borders and block movements.
There are several more rare mutations that can be combined into strain O.
Denmark’s authorities were worried about a strain the virus that had been found in mink-farming workers.
Due to the fact that it was in the spike protein they were concerned about the potential for the vaccine’s effectiveness, the government decided to order a mass slaughter of approximately 17,000,000 animals and an extended lockdown period of one month for those living in northwestern parts of the country.
What is the most prevalent strain around the world?
G strains now dominate the world, in particular in Europe and Italy. This coincides with high levels of outbreaks.
D614G mutation is the most widespread variant. This variation is believed to make the virus more contagious, although other studies support that claim.
In the meantime older strains, such as L strain and V strain, are slowly disappearing.
According to Reuters News Agency, Australia’s swift response to the pandemic has eliminated the previous L and S strains. However, new infections have resulted from G strains brought into the country by people living overseas.
More than a month since they began spreading in Europe, G, GH, and G strains have been growing rapidly in Asia.